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The Future of Mobile Development - Roundtable Event

27/10/2016 By Krikor Hindoian

The La Fosse Associates digital and development practice recently hosted the ‘Future of Mobile’ roundtable event for leaders of mobile dev teams

The evening was facilitated by Roger Nolan, Engineering Leader at Schibsted Media Group, who have a user base of 250 million globally. He also catered to the 10,000 users of Task 360 with an ultra lean development team of two. So who better to debate the development dichotomy and the future of mobile with some of the industry’s top leaders in London.

Roger opened the evening with A Tale of Two Apps, sharing his views on mobile development culture and posed questions to the delegates. Along with the key takeaways the group shared their views on several areas including technologies used, team sizes, the user (free apps vs paid vs subscription?), and emerging markets for the Smartphone.

Key Takeaways

Pain Points
The support tools offered by software giants are nakedly self-serving and only help developers if they plan to work with their systems. Facebook’s React JavaScript library, for example, is only useful when you’re writing apps for Facebook. Too many rugs are being pulled from under initiatives that developers have been encouraged to join through the support of the Googles, Facebooks and Twitters.

Beware of Booby Traps
While mobile is mainstream now, that means the software aristocracy has brought its traditional bad habits with them. Beware the booby trap of open source freebies that disappear as soon as you start to lean on them.

Addressing the Skill Shortage
Good developers are in high demand, but tend to move around often, driving up rates. As contract mobile developers demand upwards of £500 a day, team leaders need to think of ways to encourage them to commit. Cross functional teams came out as one way to avoid clashes as staffing increases. But, others argued cross functional teams struggle to address technical debt.

Serverless Architecture
Startups don’t need big servers but they do need long term continuity. There are good serverless systems out there, but no agreement over which. It all depends on the nature of business logic and the back end processing. One shared tip was to push as much of the logic as you can out of the client. Serverless architecture can be like a cowboy builder that starts off charming but gives diminishing performance returns on your money.

The Future of Apps
There’s a lot of debate in the industry as to the future of native apps, Siri, and the privacy/convenience trade-off, but guests agreed there won’t be an app revolution until the form factor for mobile devices changes. Google Glasses were dismissed as contenders. Meanwhile there’s still demand for apps, with the number in Europe shooting past 32 million recently. Additionally, growth rates in the developing markets of India and Africa are exciting, with mobiles used as the source of banking, shopping and medicine.

Testimonials:

“La Fosse brought together an intelligent group of industry leaders and we had a really interesting evening"
“Very nice and interesting as well as very thoughtful and clever speakers"
“An evening of thought provoking discussion with a group of very smart people"
“My second La Fosse thought leadership event and I've found them both to be hugely valuable"

 

Please get in touch with Krikor if you have any mobile hiring needs: krikor.hindoian@lafosse.com

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